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Every Agency Needs a Mentoring Program for New Producers

Every Agency Needs a Mentoring Program for New Producers 150 150 Andrew

New producers enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of meeting people and trying things they haven’t encountered before. But they also face daunting challenges, from building professional relationships with clients, prospects, and colleagues, to learning the social and technical aspects of describing and advocating for how they can support their client’s business.

More experienced producers can help jumpstart this process by mentoring new producers in a variety of ways. From making introductions to discussing the sales and relationship-building processes, this mentoring program will make new producers effective more quickly, benefiting the agency as a whole. But it can take the mentors time and effort to accomplish this when they could be working to increase their commissions. So it’s imperative to make the mentorship program work for everyone. This might entail bonuses or extra vacation time or other incentives for mentors.

Producer mentorship, like any workplace program, needs attention to thrive. Regular check-ins with both mentor and mentee are essential to evaluating the effectiveness of the mentor, the quality of the bond and the working relationship, the teamwork potential of the mentee, and more. This not only serves to enhance and support the mentorship program, but really the workplace as a whole, helping to acquire insight into team dynamics and potential challenges.

How does your agency pass on institutional knowledge and expertise? How do you reward and celebrate the contributions of senior team members while creating space and opportunity for newer producers to thrive? Competition in the workplace can be healthy and effective, but it must be met with a strong sense of teamwork and solidarity, not cutthroat behavior. Every producer must feel that their individual actions matter, while also understanding that the agency succeeds or fails as a team. From producer mentorship programs to teambuilding exercises and beyond, building a healthy workplace improves everyone’s experience.

How to Build a Diverse Team and Diversity of Thought

How to Build a Diverse Team and Diversity of Thought 2560 1707 Andrew

Diversity is essential to a strong, creative, adaptable workplace, and it comes in many forms. Diversity includes socio-economic and ethnicity factors, gender diversity (including trans or non-binary individuals), queer people, varied nationalities and languages and academic backgrounds, neurodiversity, and more. Yet diversity exists not just in where we’ve come from, but in how we think.

How does your agency foster team diversity, including diversity of thought? Background diversity stems from recruitment and onboarding practices. How are you describing job openings? What positions are you creating? Do you have specific roles to support diversity within your HR department? Where do you advertise job openings? How and where do you conduct interviews and what criteria do you prioritize in resumes and CVs?

It’s often helpful to get an outside perspective on such matters, as it can prove difficult to identify internal challenges (diversity-oriented or otherwise). But supporting and celebrating diversity can strengthen and empower teams in any number of ways. More diverse workplaces encourage a broader and more open exchange of ideas. They help everyone learn to express themselves and feel comfortable with who they are. The less someone feels they have to hide in the workplace, the more likely you are to get the most out of them as a team member.

Fostering diversity of thought is partly about recruitment and onboarding practices, but it’s also about what you do once the team is in place. Is your leadership communicating creativity-oriented priorities? How are new ideas handled in your organization? What praise, experimentation, bonuses, promotions, or other tools do you use to reward and validate dynamic and inventive thought?

Diversity, in its many forms, helps an agency reach its full potential. Most agencies lack meaningful diversity and lack a plan to achieve or leverage it. What’s your plan?

Protecting Your Insurance Agency from Cyber Attacks

Protecting Your Insurance Agency from Cyber Attacks 2560 1707 Andrew

Cyberattacks are on the rise, so it’s no surprise that cyber insurance continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the insurance industry. For insurance agencies, there are two sides to this issue: opportunity for cyber insurance related growth, and the potential for a malicious cyberattack against their own agency website. Consider some of these cyber stats:

  • The average cost of a ransomware attack was $1.85 million in 2020, doubling the year before at $761,106. (Sophos, 2021)
  • Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020.
  • 45% of breaches featured hacking, 17% were malware related and 22% involved phishing.
  • 88% of organizations worldwide experienced phishing attempts (2019).
  • Between 2005 and 2020, there have been over 11,000 recorded breaches.
  • The top malicious email attachment types are .doc and .dot (37%), the next is .exe (19.5%).

How can you make your insurance agency website more secure and limit your exposure to a cyberattack or breach?

The Basics

  • Install SSL. This is a mandatory step for all websites!
  • Update your software frequently. This includes your operating environment, coding, theme, plugins, etc.
  • Use complex passwords. All passwords for all user access to your website should be complex. It’s often best to use the computer-generated passwords provided by your system.
  • Educate your users. Take the time to ensure all employees and contractors understand cyber security best practices including preventing phishing emails and other hacking emails.
  • Use anti-malware solutions. Invest in anti-malware solutions for ongoing scans to and prevent malicious attacks.


  • Harden your server. Server hardening is a set of techniques used to improve the security of your server. For example, you should manage server access, minimize the external footprint (including hiding key files from public view), patch vulnerabilities, restrict admin access and minimized user access permissions.
  • Use parameter queries to mitigate SQL injection attacks.
  • Multifactor authentication should be used for login security. MFA is an excellent addition to your security protocol, and authenticator apps like LastPass, Microsoft Authenticator, and Google Authenticator are easy to use. They reside on your smartphone and allow you to enter a 6-digit code to validate secure login.
  • Add a firewall. Most hosting environments offer a firewall option, and you should take advantage of this. For example, GoDaddy offers an optional Securi firewall to help prevent hacking attempts. These are an inexpensive addition and should be a standard. Note that you will need to change your DNS A record when adding a firewall.
  • Protect against XSS attacks. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks can inject malicious JavaScript into your insurance agency web pages, which can change browser page content, or potentially steal information. The best defense is to limit how and what JavaScript is executed in the page. For example, your website can disallow the running of any non-hosted scripts (disallow inline JavaScript).
  • Manually accept on-site comments. Don’t allow comments to automatically post, this cuts down on spam and script attacks.
  • Use captchas. Every form should have a captcha, and in the event of cookie compliance captcha issues, create a mandatory field which requires the user to decide something. For example, 5+4=___).
  • Encrypt data. If you’re capturing information of any kind, or as a general safeguard, encrypt your data while at rest.

Entrepreneurial Succession and Liquidity: Read Our Article in Leader’s Edge

Entrepreneurial Succession and Liquidity: Read Our Article in Leader’s Edge 1580 1053 Andrew

In a recent interview in Leader’s Edge Magazine, we discuss Vantage’s business model, value proposition, what we look for in potential agency partners, and our long-term plan in the insurance distribution market. You can read the article at the link below.

Succession is in the back of every entrepreneur’s mind. The right partner for us isn’t quitting tomorrow, but they also don’t want to wait until they’re 80 to start thinking about liquidity. We address entrepreneurial succession in a more directly-aligned way with a longer-term relationship that has a lot of built-in flexibility. Our partners:

  • Remain an active leader of their business, earning annual compensation to manage the business
  • Receive annual cash distributions in-line with their ownership percentage in the business
  • Benefit from long-term equity creation of the combined Vantage entity.

We supplement our partners’ ability to grow in and beyond their segment through origination, diligence, funding and integration of add-on acquisitions into their business.

A partnership with Vantage allows you to monetize a portion of your largest asset upfront but still retain personally meaningful and direct equity ownership in your own business and maintain operational autonomy with no change to your firm’s brand, staffing, processes/procedures and more importantly, your culture.

Read the article here!